Author: Sanjay Suri
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0670058777
'The way Indians were being Indian, someone had to take notes', explains Sanjya Suri, whose wanderings through the Indian corridors of England began quite unceremoniously with his rather unsuccessful search for a wife at a marriage mela in Wembley. Although years of curious probing failed to produce an Indian story, Suri’s encounters with an extraordinary variety of Indian lives enabled him to unearth a treasure trove of tales.
So we hear of Dhanjibhai, whose vigorous nods to a customs official at the Karachi airport in 1956 eventually got him and his companions their first jobs in England in the textile mills of J W Bastard & Co, of a thread-and-buttons retailer promoting a new religion to counter caste walls that remain firmly in place 4000 miles from home; and of the Punjabi agony aunt who engages in startlingly candid exchanges with Southall Singhs, counseling them on, among other things, the matter of size.
As Suri, armed with the objectivity of a seasoned reporter yet intimately involved with his own kind, steps right into the thick of things, we also catch him participating in a unique protest march led by Ram, Krishna and Hanuman down Kingsway; attending a secret public meeting ostensibly arranged to champion the evergreen Kashmir cause; and playing appreciative audience to a group of seven-year-olds belting out jhatkas at their weekly Bollywood dance class.
A spirited revelation of the exuberant mosaic of life in post-immigration Britain, Brideless in Wembley is equally about a people’s search for an anchor in the alien land they have made their home.
Aunt and Agony